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Monday, June 25, 2007

Everybody Wants to be an Evil One

Hello Evil HR Lady!

From your name alone, I can tell you have quite a sense of humor. Which gives me high hopes already. I am a rising college senior, pursuing a B.S. in Psych with a minor/concentration in Business. I am currently floundering around for a career path, and HR has fallen in my lap. I currently work at an area theme park in the ticket office, and I am starting as an HR assistant in a few weeks.

I've been toying around with the idea of HR for awhile, but I'm afraid I'm not really sure what I'm getting myself into. I'm also somewhat terrified of getting into the stereotypical, day in-day out monotony of the working world.

Okay, I'm basically curious as to what you would do if you were in my shoes. How did you feel when you were my age? What education level do you think I should further pursue? (MBA?) Or does "real world" experience hold greater weight in the long run? What other knowledge would you like to bestow on a youngin' as myself?


What do you mean when I was your age? I'm only 22. Oh wait, no, I'm not. I am much, much older. (Although still convinced that I look 22, although I think 22 year olds look 12.)

The working world does have a degree of monotony--that's why it's called work. Here is one my favorite quotes from Jenkin Lloyd Jones:
Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he's been robbed. The fact is that most putts don't drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just ordinary people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. . . .

Of course, this doesn't mean that your life has to be miserable, but if you are constantly looking for exciting, HR may not be the place for you.

However, the advantage of HR is that you get to know all the company gossip--in fact, it could even be your job to not only know but investigate all such rumors. Fun!

I'm a huge fan of real world experience. Some people are huge fans of MBAs. It depends on whether you want to work for me or for someone else. Typically, I believe it's easier to rise in large companies with advanced degrees.

If I had to do it over again, I would have my master's degree in Organizational Development rather than Political Science. I love OD work and I find it very difficult to get into that realm because I lack the degree.

But here is also reality, you don't have to stay in the same job forever. You don't even have to stay in the same field forever. One of my favorite HR colleagues spent 15 years in manufacturing, working his way up to a manufacturing manager. He then jumped into HR. People jump out as well--another colleague spent 5 years in HR (her master's degree is in HR as well) and is now in IS. You're not stuck.

Yes, you have to go to work every day. (Unless you are me--since I job share. Ha!) Yes, this is no fun. You no longer get breaks like you did in school. But, such is real life.

Don't worry about having your first job define your career. Just make sure you are the one to define it. I would recommend that if you decide you want an MBA that you get 3-5 years of work under your belt before going into a program. It makes you much more marketable and much more likely to get into a good program.

You're a senior in college and starting a job as an HR assistant. Excellent. Lap up all the knowledge you can while you are there. By the time you graduate you'll be well situated to get a professional HR job or to decide you don't like HR after all. Lots of psych majors in HR. You'll need it to deal with your future colleagues.

4 comments:

Ask a Manager said...

I agree! I would also add that you shouldn't get an MBA until you know what you're getting it for -- don't go after advanced degrees for the sake of having one; figure out first what you want to do and whether you need an advanced degree to do it well. I see a lot of people going to grad school without being able to clearly articulate why. That's a lot of time and debt without a clear reason.

Laurie said...

This must be the time of common questions because I just posted one from a girl at the local university!

Anonymous said...

You mentioned Organizational Development which is intriguing to me because I recently graduated w/ my BA in Psych. and am definitely interested in further pursuing OD avenues -- my concern is that this degree is not very well known right now, and I am wondering what your outlook is for those obtaining a masters in OD in today's society? What are the "Avenues" one can take with this advanced degree?

Evil HR Lady said...

I think OD is a growing field and there will be more opportunitites in the future.

That said, I think it makes a lot of sense to work for a few years before pursuing a graduate degree. Grad school is expensive and hard and you need to be sure you really want to do it before you do it.